Dubbed Google Shopping Express, the service will act as a virtual store shelf, offering unlimited same-day deliveries of items purchased from retailers such as Target to those taking part in the pilot program.
So far, Google has partnered with Target, Office Depot, Walgreens, Staples, Toys ‘R’ Us and American Eagle Outfitters. Smaller, local firms such as Blue Bottle Coffee and Palo Alto Toy & Sport have also signed on.
“Today we’re starting a new experiment, Google Shopping Express. It’s a local delivery service that we hope will make it possible for you to get the items you order online the same day, and at a low cost. It’s incredibly early days and so the service is only available to a small number of people in the Bay Area,” said Google Shopping Express product management director Tom Fallows in a blog post.
“We’re still working out our long-term pricing plan but early testers will get six months of free, unlimited same-day delivery. The pilot will expand as we work out the kinks, so please stay tuned.”
To use the service, simply browse participating stores online and make selections. Then, choose a delivery window and provide delivery instructions for Google’s couriers.
Google has enlisted local courier companies to pick up products from participating stores and deliver them to shoppers’ homes.
Although Google Shopping Express is still in the testing phase, it is obvious the search engine giant is gearing up to take on e-retail giants Amazon Prime and eBay Now.
While testers are being handed a free six-month membership, sources early this month said annual membership will likely cost $64 to $69 — cheaper than the $79 Amazon charges for its Prime service. If the sources are accurate, it could spell trouble for Amazon’s Prime service. While customers receive cheap, expedited shipping, same-day shipping is not available in most cases.
Those living in the San Francisco Bay area can sign up to become a Google Shopping Express tester here.
Retailers interested in being part of the program can also sign up online.